The Champlain Committee at Trent University was established during a time of heightened awareness of the impacts of colonization and the imperative for truth and reconciliation.
At Trent University, questions have arisen at various times about Champlain College, its namesake Samuel de Champlain (c. 1567-1635), and the name itself as well as artwork and sculpture displayed at the college. 2021 marked the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, recognized at the University through a Treaty Rock installation at Symons Campus and a Treaty Wall at the Durham GTA campus.
These latest initiatives build on Trent’s 50 years of leadership in Indigenous Studies and the University’s 1993 Statement of Affirmation and Support, upholding the institution’s commitment to Indigenous knowledge and incorporating traditional teachings and perspectives into its curricular and extracurricular programming.
Along with these central perspectives exists an evolving history of Champlain College that currently involves 2,151 students and 10,000+ alumni who bring their own distinct attachments to their college.
In light of the above, the Champlain Committee will endeavour to provide a report that gives guidance and recommendations to the University regarding the representation of Samuel de Champlain as it relates to the identity of the college (possibly including but not limited to imagery, language, objects and contextual information).
Principles and Process
To do so, the Committee will:
- Gain an awareness of current questions and conversations about the Champlain College identity from various stakeholders, rights holders and representatives from in and outside the Trent community.
- Come to a contemporary understanding of the legacy of Samuel de Champlain, informed by historical accounts and scholarly material, as well as current understandings of colonial figures.
- Provide due consideration and exceptional access to, advice from and dialogue with Elders and Chiefs as well as the Trent University Alumni Council.
- Receive input and review perspectives from a variety of groups and individuals, including students, faculty, staff and alumni - especially alumni of Champlain College - as well as experts and others who may wish to contribute written submissions.
- Consider what might constitute an approach that is distinctly Trent.